December 5th, 2014

LET’S BE COPS (2014) **

Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. star as two losers who go to a costume party dressed as cops. People instantly mistake them for real police officers and they are all too happy to take full advantage of the situation. When they shake down a couple of Russian mobsters, they incur the wrath of a kingpin (James D’Arcy). The duo quickly get in over their heads and have to work together to bring the gangsters down.

As People Posing as Cops movies go, it’s definitely no Blue Streak.

Let’s Be Cops has a couple of initial funny moments, especially whenever it’s exploiting people’s natural fear of being questioned by the police. I also liked the scene where women at a bachelorette party accosted Johnson and Wayans and forced them to dance. These scenes are fleeting, but they do work up to a point. In fact, the scenes that play over the credits of the duo messing with random citizens are the best in the entire film. If more scenes like this were in the actual movie, it could’ve worked.

Most of the situations feel like they came out of a bad sitcom (Johnson and Wayans both co-star on New Girl). To make matters worse, a lot of them just aren’t very funny (like when they get into a fight with some sorority sisters). The scenes of them squaring off against the mobsters are also farfetched and strain credibility (even for a silly comedy like this one).

The biggest problem though is that neither Johnson nor Wayans Jr. are very likeable and mostly act like morons. (Wayans’ constant mugging while high on meth is particularly unfunny.) I did like Nina (Never Cry Werewolf) Dobrev as Wayans’ girlfriend though. Rob Riggle is also pretty funny as a real cop who helps Johnson and Wayans on the case.

LET’S RUIN IT WITH BABIES (2014) **

Channing (Kestrin Pantera) and Chaz (Johnathan Grubb) are a couple of entrepreneurs who are trying to get their karaoke party van idea off the ground. In conjunction to that venture, they also decide to try to get pregnant. Right before taking their initial promotional road trip, Chaz gets a job and has to drop out. Channing then decides to go it alone and finds the road is less than kind to her.

Written and directed by star Kestrin Pantera, who also cast her real-life husband Grubb as her on screen counterpart, Let’s Ruin It with Babies is long on observation and short on emotion. The film kind of has a John Cassavetes feel to it. The characters make random confessional monologues that don’t feel particularly natural, but work within the confines of the movie. The fact that most of the characters are annoying hipsters doesn’t exactly help though. If you don’t find them likeable (like me); you might be in for a rough road trip.

There is one thing about the movie that made me laugh out loud. That was the fact that the budget was so low that the party bus’ karaoke machine was filled with public domain songs. Seeing the characters jam out to “Kumbaya” and “Old McDonald” is pretty funny. (It actually reminded me of the Pod People episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 where the mad scientists created the very same invention.)

Let’s Ruin It with Babies is now available from Cinema Epoch: www.cinemaepoch.com